Hi everyone! I am very excited to welcome my dear friend, Allison Johanson, to the blog today to share Baby Catherine’s birth story with us. Allison and I studied abroad in Ghana (West Africa) together about 10 years ago. Allison is brave, optimistic, strong, and has a heart of gold. She loves others fiercely, and I am so proud to call her my friend.
I was a rock star throughout my pregnancy, and I am proud of that. I exercised daily, did prenatal yoga, and swam. My motivation, throughout my pregnancy, was reduced labor time for an unmedicated childbirth. I was pretty confident I could do this. I mentally gave myself the option to get an epidural, but really didn’t think I would need it.
At 36 weeks my doctor told me I had pre-eclampsia. I needed to reduce my movement, had to come in twice a week, and she said there was a chance she would have to induce the following Friday (which was my birthday).
I was able to keep my blood pressure low-ish and was able to last until 38 weeks when my doctor told me she was going to have to induce the following week. She checked the position of the baby and my pelvic bone. She told me the baby was facing forward and my pelvis was tilted forward. She was pretty confident I was going to have a C-section. I am pretty stubborn, so I chose not to hear her.
On July 7th my husband and I went to breakfast and then signed in at the hospital at 8:30 am. This was much different from my vision of laboring at home and going to the hospital only when I could not take it anymore.
The nurse explained the Pitocin, and explained that my labor would be more intense with less productivity. At 10:00 pm they checked my cervix and said I was 4 cm. They broke my water and I instantly started laboring. I asked for an exercise ball and finally found a position I could tolerate for the 1 minute on/40 seconds off interval. My husband was coaching me the whole time.
The nurse came in and told me they could not read my monitor in the position I was in and I needed to stand up. I had all kinds of machines hooked up because of the Pitocin. I then leaned up against the bed and found a new position I wouldn’t get in trouble for.
They came in to check the position of my cervix again. I had not changed at all. I was still at 4 cm 2 hours later. My response? “F*** this, give me an epidural.” My husband was very supportive and talked with me about my decision suggesting I may regret it. I said “Nope, let’s do it.” Let me tell you, that was the best decision of my life. I don’t know if it was because of the Pitocin or otherwise, but the epidural allowed me to tolerate labor.
Coffee in one hand, purse in the other, my doctor (who I knew well at this point) came through the door the next morning and asked, “You ready to push?” I pushed for a while. After about an hour, my doctor said, “Allison, I think we need to have a C-section. The crown of her head is coming down, but her forehead is stuck. She currently has about 3 inches of cone head.” My response you ask? “Just 10 more pushes.” And I did. When I want something, I want it – and I did not want a C-section. I read all about how terrible they are on the internet.
Well my kid’s head went down another 2-3 inches during those 10 pushes and was still stuck. C-section time. They had to put me on my back, which made me puke my guts up. At some point in the procedure I heard all kinds of directions and a brief period of panic. Then I heard it “There she is,” and I heard her cry. It was 8:11 am on July 8. I remember saying “My baby, I want her,” then puking into the condom like contraption they gave my husband to hold my puke.
I peeked over at my husband holding my beautiful cone headed baby. As they sewed me back up, my doctor told me she would never allow someone to push so long again. The two doctors reported it was the most difficult C-section they remember performing. Oops.
I was not able to hold my baby because I was still puking. I was terrified, the internet said that if you don’t do skin to skin you will hate your baby. If you have a C-section you will hate your baby. Basically I was destined to hate my baby. BUT I DIDN’T.
As I finally held my sweet baby girl, my husband snapped a picture and sent it to friends, family, and work to announce the pregnancy. My nipple was showing. Luckily only 40% of people admitted to noticing. I loved her so much that I thought I might never stop holding her. People told me to sleep, that I must be tired. I wasn’t. I was jazzed. I didn’t want to let her go.
My daughter’s birth was far from the unmedicated birth I had hoped for. I breastfed well even with Pitocin and a C-section. I healed well and pretty quickly. I was lucky enough not to have any negative post-partum mood symptoms. None of my fears about a C-section came true. Nine months later and I still love being a mom more than I ever thought was possible.
Thank you so much to Allison for sharing Catherine’s beautiful birth story with us! You are a rock star!
If you are interested in sharing your birth story, please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Many people think that they have to have an unmedicated birth to share their story, I hope that Allison has just changed your mind about that. This blog is for sharing real stories about real families. If you asked for an epidural the moment you got to the hospital, planned a c-section, had an emergency c-section, or even had your baby in the car, we want to hear about it! Every birth story is different, but they are all stories of love and bringing new life into the world. What could be more special than that?
And just for fun, I thought I would throw in this old pic…